Url Phantomhive

Url Phantomhive

Trying to shed a light on the wonderful maze of books...

Review
2 Stars
The War Of The Roses
The War of the Roses - Warren Adler

I haven't seen the film. And neither I will, based on this book. This was a very uncomfortable read. In the beginning I mainly disliked it because it felt misogynistic, constantly telling us how sorry we should be for the man whose feeble wife on a whim decided to divorce him. Said wife on her part only gets to tell she wanted to feel free. Add to that another woman who can only say she couldn't possibly understand why anyone would want to divorce such a wonderful man. It felt very dated, and I had to push myself to keep reading this.

And that was before the story went stark raven mad, as the two of them are locked in a fight - almost to the death and the death of the house they so pathetically try to save for themselves. It escalates quickly in what could be the worst divorce ever. At this point I was actually interested in learning who would win in the end, hence the two stars, but the ending was rather disappointing.

The War of The Roses hasn't aged well, in my opinion.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3 Stars
The Necessary Death Of Lewis Winter
The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter - Malcolm Mackay

In a genre like crime fiction it is very difficult these days to get an original angle to the story. This is however where The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter succeeded. One murder, and the reader is given every detail of its planning, its execution and its aftermath from different angles.

Because we were there, so to speak, there is little crime solving in the novel. What we do get to see is the frustration of police officers and the web of lies some of the characters are spinning. While this sounds very interesting on paper, I found it difficult to connect with any of the characters and I didn't really care much whether they would succeed or not. If any, I probably cheered for the hitman. There also were a lot of things unsolved at the end of the novel, which I don't know will be addressed in the next.

Interesting premise, but in the end, I expected more from it.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
4 Stars
I'm Traveling Alone
I'm Traveling Alone: A Novel - Samuel Bjork

Why did I wait so long to read this?

There was a time I read a lot of the Scandinavian crime books that were flooding the local book stores, but since my attention has somewhat moved from crime books in general it took me a while to get to this one. I'm glad I eventually got to it.

It was a very good story and some nice characters were introduced, and it looks like it is going to be a great series that I would like to read more about. The case was solid and there was a twist I didn't see coming.

Recommended.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3 Stars
Fury
Fury - Steven James

Fury is the sequel to Blur, and as in the first book, Daniel is seeing things he wishes he wouldn't see and is trying to figure out what it all means. It had been a while since I read the first book and so the details were a bit blurry for me, but it was repeated at the beginning of Fury, so it didn't feel like I had to go back to Blur.

While this was an entertaining read, I couldn't shake the feeling it was a bit forced at times. Also, without putting spoilers, there is a lot here that didn't surprise me in the end at all. Which was maybe a bit of a let down, but it still was a very quick read. I already have the third book in the series and I plan to read it soon, so I hope the story will take a turn to the original in that one.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3 Stars
Blur
Blur - Steven James

This was my first time reading Steven James, who apparently is a master of suspense and this his first YA mystery. Daniel, the MC, starts seeing 'blurs', or basically the ghost of a recently deceased classmate who asks him to investigate her dead. (Why she doesn't just tell him what happened, since she was present at her own dead, is beyond me but would have made for a much shorter book, of course).

What follows is on the one hand a rather standard situation where Daniel together with his best friend and love interest look into the death of said classmate. On the other hand it is also Daniel's story as he is trying to figure out what is real and what isn't and is he going mad or not?

While not the most original mystery and not un-put-downable, it was a nice read and I will continue with the next in the series.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3.5 Stars
Dutch Girl
Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II - Robert Matzen

Somehow I had completely missed that Audrey Hepburn was Dutch and lived there during the second world war. The recent publication Dutch Girl was about to set that straight.

I've seen some reviewers complain that the book was too much about life in the Netherlands during the second world war and not enough about Audrey herself, but I disagree on that account. Not only did I find that was the most interesting part of the book (being Dutch myself), I also believed the broader context is necessary to understand this part of her life.

However, at some points I had the feeling the story dragged a bit, and it maybe would have been better if  a little bit shorter. But overall an interesting read.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
2 Stars
The Rise Of Thomas Cromwell
The Rise of Thomas Cromwell: Power and Politics in the Reign of Henry VIII, 1485-1534 - Michael Everett

This took me a while to finish. I also learned an important thing, I'm interested in English history, but only up to a point.

While I'm sure this book about the early years of Thomas Cromwell in the King's service is well researched, there is one thing that makes it difficult, which is exactly why this is the part of his life that has not been written extensively about. There is very little known. Which leads to very lengthy discussions and speculations between different historians about the littlest of snippets of letters which are still available. For me, this was more a book to use if I wanted to research the man, rather than an interesting biography to read as a whole.

For me, this was also in the style, which at times I thought was almost unreadable due to the enormous amounts of repetition, especially in the early parts. By the time I finished the introduction I knew this was going to be a long read.

Containing interesting things about Cromwell, but also eventually concluding that it is hard to know anything for sure, this work was unreadable at times and I can only recommend it to those studying the particular man or period.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3.5 Stars
Last Seen Leaving
Last Seen Leaving - Caleb Roehrig

Last Seen Leaving combines two books in one. The first is the mystery surrounding the disappearance of a teenager. This part wasn't really special, it was nice enough, but having read a couple of these books before, it becomes rather formulaic with little surprises.

On the other hand, there is the coming of age story of the main character, which was way more interesting as he struggles with his true self and is trying to keep his own secret, well, secret. I wish the book would have focused more on this aspect.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
2.5 Stars
Of Beast And Beauty
Of Beast and Beauty - Stacey Jay

I got this as an Audiobook during one of the SYNCs (these provide some audiobooks for free for a limited period of time), and I don't know why but this was the second Beauty and the Beast retelling I got to listen to in this way.

While I like retellings, it is always a little bit problematic because you already know where the story is going. And when things start to feel rushed or forced, as was the romance in this case, I don't really like it. Isra, who lives by the well-being of a set of enchanted roses, had a lot of angst and was very passive, even though she was supposed to be ruling the city. I liked the setting, but had more hopes for the execution of the story.

Review
3 Stars
Shady Cross
Shady Cross - James Hankins

Shady Cross has an interesting premise. A low-time criminal is in a car crash and happens upon a big bag with cash. He's about to celebrate his luck when the phone in the bag starts ringing and he speaks to a young girl, whom he's never met, who is abducted. Clearly, the bag contains her ransom. Suddenly overtaken by a conscience he decides to deliver the ransom. This, however, turns out not to be easy.

It had a very masculine feel to it. The main characters kept steering into trouble and at some point, as everything was following up in rapid succession I started to loose my interested. This because it was getting more and more unrealistic, almost by the page. Just deliver the ransom already!

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
2 Stars
The Man In Two Bodies
The Man in Two Bodies - Stanley Salmons

What if there was a technique to transport a body to a different place? And what if this was immediately implemented towards crime?

The man in two bodies is a novel which spins around these questions, and while it was definitely an intriguing read, it couldn't convince me. I disliked the main characters voice and the start of the novel had already sort of given away the ending. Still, while I might not have really enjoyed reading it, I do find myself sometimes thinking of it. And that's something I will have to give it credit for.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
4 Stars
Not So Much, Said The Cat
Not So Much, Said the Cat - Michael Swanwick

Not So Much, Said The Cat collects shorts stories by Michael Swanwick. And as collections go, there usually are better and worse stories also in this collection. I'm somewhat a troubled short stories reader, since I find it hard to feel invested in the characters that are only there for a short period of time. However, when done right, I do appreciate it a lot, which is why I keep giving short fiction a try.

I really enjoyed reading the collection, even as I don't think any particular stories will stay with me for a long time. It was my introduction to Michael Swanwick, and I might try some more.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3.5 Stars
Know It All: Classical Music
Know It All Classical Music - Joanne Cormac

Know it all Classical Music brings you 50 topics, from different eras of Western classical music in about 30 seconds each. The nice thing about it is that you get to learn a lot of different things in a short amount of time. Of course, the extent of information that can be learned in this style is rather limited. So I would see this, and other works in the series, more like an introduction to the topic. I got some nice little facts from this collection, and also thought the layout was nicely done.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
4 Stars
Is This A Dagger Which I See Before Me?
Is This a Dagger Which I See Before Me? (Penguin Little Black Classics) - William Shakespeare

I thought it was strange that Shakespeare was not included in the original 80 Little Black Classics, but it is here, in the additional 46. So rather than waiting when I would finally arrive at #113, I decided to immediately read this one.

Shakespeare is great, and as such I liked this but these were all such little snippets that I didn't think this is the best way to read it. Or, better still, go see a play, that way, for me, the works come to life best!

~ Little Black Classics #113 ~

Review
3 Stars
After We Fall
After We Fall - Emma Kavanagh

After We Fall is a moody psychological thriller about the aftermath of a plane crash on four totally different people. As the story continues the four stories come closer together (no surprises here), but the fun part is trying to figure out whilst reading exactly how it will happen.

This was a good debut novel. Some things I thought could have been resolved a bit better, but I enjoyed reading it and would read more books by Emma Kavanagh.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
1.5 Stars
The Terrors Of The Night
The Terrors of the Night (Little Black Classics #30) - Thomas Nashe

I realize that in a collection of 80 (or 127) works, not everything can stand out. Well, this one did, but unfortunately not in a good way. The blurb, as other reviewers have pointed out, was looking quite good, but doesn't fit the book at all.

I guess if you're into long Elizabethan ramblings about the devil and such things, this might be for you. Otherwise, I'm sure there are better books for you in this collection...

~Little Black Classics #30~

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